SOLIDWORKS 2015 Chain Pattern


SOLIDWORKS 2015 Chain Component Pattern


February 2015


How to create a chain by patterning two links.


This document describes the processes and details specific to creating a chain via the chain component pattern using the male and female chain links.

This article details the process of patterning chain links on a sketched chain path. This method will pattern two links along a defined sketch, automatically inserting duplicate chain link parts as well as mating them accordingly. Please keep in mind that the sketched path is arbitrary for the sake of detailing the chain patterning process. 

Chain Component Pattern

1.) Sketch chain path in a new assembly.

Notes: I'm using IPS units. I sketched on the Front Plane. These dimensions are arbitrary. This sketch may need to be adjusted later to make the chain links start and end at the same spot using the "Fill path" chain pattern.

2.) Insert one of each chain link into the assembly. 

Here I inserted both the Pin and Roller links into the assembly. The first component you insert into the assembly will be fixed, denoted by the (f) in front of the part name. You will want to right click on this part name in the feature tree and float the part so it can be moved in the assembly space. 

Once floated, you can see the (f) that was previously in front of the Pin Link is now a (-), meaning it is unconstrained in space. If the link is not floated, the chain can still be patterned, however, it will not follow along the path when dragged. 

3.) Use chain pattern to pattern the two links along the chain path sketch. It's important to recognize what the three different types of chain patterning do.

For this example we are going to use the connected linkage with two chain groups. The chain component pattern feature can be accessed via the drop down menu under the Linear Component Pattern button on the assembly tab of the command manager or Insert > Component Pattern > Chain Component Pattern. 

For the pitch method make sure to select the connected linkage option. The chain path will be the sketch created in step 1. The fill path option will pattern the links however many times it needs to in order to fill the path completely. 

The first chain group will be the Roller Link. The next two selections will be the circular edges/surfaces that the pattern will use to make the links concentric with each other. The path alignment plane will be the part plane that is coplanar with the chain path sketch plane, in this case it is the part's front plane. Since we are patterning two chain links, the chain group two needs to be activated. 

The same selection process as the first link is applied to the second link. Once the selections for the links are completed, the chain will be generated. You can see below that the arbitrary chain path is too short for the last link to be added. At this point the chain has been patterned and is contained such that it moves along the path when dragged. 

In a real world design situation the length of the chain path would either already be known, or adjusted according to the the gap between the links above. 

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